I'd never given it much thought until I was photographing my first wedding alone back in 2016. Being the millennial that I am, I want instant results, on everything. Amazon Prime? Oh you know I got that. So I find it natural for couples, family members and friends to whip out their phones during the ceremony.
What I never thought of was how it would look in photos. Looking back on this, of course I should have know. I'M the photographer! This is something that I should know! Well, experience definitely imprinted this on my mind.
You see, when you choose to have an unplugged wedding, it forces your guests to be in the moment. They have to put down their screens, lift their eyes up, and truly participate in the exchange of vows between you and your love.
When you choose against this, then photos like the one above happen. Or even like the photos below.
Again, I get wanting to have instant photos so you can share these incredible moments from your wedding day with the world immediately. However, when you hire a professional to photograph your wedding, sometimes things like tiny screens can muddle the photo and distract from where the focus should be.
All of this, of course, comes down to what the couple wants. What they prioritize. If this doesn't bug them, then that's fine! My ideology behind shooting weddings is to give my couple what they want. I customize everything. Of course I have my opinions on what I think looks best, but who am I to tell my couple who has hired me that I'm not going to give them what they want?
Some photographers have very strict rules that they stick to because they have their specific style. Which yes, I get that too. I fully support artistic integrity. I guess when it comes to my ideology of shooting weddings, I just want to make my clients happy and capture images that express them. That takes priority over checking off boxes on what fits with my brand. (Disclaimer: This is absolutely NOT a slam on anybody who does this! I'm speaking to the way that I run my business and the relationship I have with my clients).
However, I do encourage all of my clients and anyone planning a wedding to consider an unplugged ceremony. When it comes to the reception, get crazy! Have fun! Take all of the selfies.
Pow-Wow with the Officiant
As you can also see from the first photo, everybody is standing. This is long after the bride has walked down the aisle. And I'm just going to come out and say it: I'm 5'2". So shooting a wedding and attempting to capture the couple from every angle when everybody is still standing and is taller than you is quite difficult.
I literally thought, "Do I jump to get the photo? Will that be too distracting? Do I actually think I'm bomb enough to get the perfect shot while doing that?" 🤣 Desperate times call for desperate measures, friends.
Working double time to make sure I got as many great angles as possible, I got all of the shots I wanted. But this taught me that while even though the officiant is a professional and does this on a regular basis, it's ok to check in and say, "Hey, I know you already know this but it's been forgotten about at a couple of weddings I shot. So could you please make sure to tell guests when it's appropriate to sit down? I'm short and everybody is tall to me."
This works every time.
People are Everything
It's super important to remember that the day is all about the couple. So I always do my best to capture what's most important to them on their wedding day.
This couple was surrounded by all of their friends and family and I'm not exaggerating when I say that you could truly feel the love that was being poured out on them. During the reception, they opened the floor for anyone to make a toast to the happy couple and you guys - this went on for so long!
It was so sweet to hear all of the heartwarming (and lots of embarrassing) stories that were told. Everyone invited to the wedding was truly happy that these two had found each other and had found true love. Do you know what it's like to cry at your clients wedding while shooting it?! You either have to be a really good speaker or just speak from the heart. And that's what this group did.
The priority of this couple was clearly their guests, so that's what I made sure to capture. Because what's important to my clients is what's important to me and those are the people, things, moments that I want to capture for them to remember and cherish for the rest of their lives.
Now, here's a couple of photos of the couple from their wedding day. I hope you all enjoy!
- Jenn Petty